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UKGC New Rules Target Slots – Will They Impact the Playing Experience and How?
By 31 October 2021, all online casinos serving UK consumers will have to implement the latest requirements imposed by the UKGC. One glance over these shows that the games to be most affected by the changes are online slots. Undoubtedly, the UKGC works towards making the experience safer for everyone involved, and these restrictions are a step in that direction. Still, it’s essential to understand how the changes will affect the gameplay and what popular features will be impacted.
Any Illusions Must be Removed
I applaud the requirements that target the creation of illusions. With these, players won’t get the false idea of having control over the outcome. Moreover, the new UKGC requirements demand that they mustn’t be led to believe they have won lots of cash, or any cash for that matter, when the reality is different.
So, let’s see how the Commission plans to accomplish these two important goals. The first is by removing the illusion of control over what happens. They still haven’t explained how providers and operators should meet this requirement. It may be related to games whose bonus features make it seem like there are right or wrong choices, while the outcome is RNG-generated. In any case, as many consumers, especially newbies, aren’t entirely familiar with how RNG outcomes work, this change should have positive effects.
The more significant change, in my opinion, is removing the illusion of winning. Online slots and specifically video and 3D machines with lots of animations and realistic sounds have the power to make players feel victorious. Unfortunately, all those sounds and coins are often misleading. How so? Well, if you bet €10 and win €5, you’ve actually lost €5. However, thanks to the celebratory atmosphere triggered by the minor win, you may feel like you got the better end of the bargain.
The UK's regulator made the bold move to deal with this issue by banning “imagery and sounds that give the illusion of a win.” On the one hand, this is excellent as it prevents players from believing they won when the winning is equal or lower than the bet size. On the other hand, it may make the gameplay less entertaining as animations and sounds are responsible for a good deal of the fun. Still, everything that protects consumers deserves praise.
Fast-paced Action Blacklisted – Bid Some Essential Features Goodbye
Do you know the popular Blitz mode available at Casino Heroes? If not, it makes the gameplay up to six times faster. It guarantees fast-paced entertainment and an overall thrilling experience with minimal user interference. One problem with it? If you enter an unlucky streak, you will lose your money up to six times faster. Players often overlook these negative aspects of cool features.
Instead of raising awareness, the UKGC decided to deal with such mechanics by altogether banning them. While Casino Heroes isn’t available to UK users, the Blitz mode was developed in partnership with NetEnt. It’s possible that the provider wanted to expand this mechanic and include it in its standard offering. In any case, the British market is no longer an option for Blitz mode or anything similar. Plus, this imposes the question of whether other gambling authorities like the MGA will follow the UKGC’s lead.
Another classic feature that goes in history with the Commission’s latest regulatory changes? Auto-play! That’s right. UK players won’t be able to select a number of spins and just watch what happens on the screen. The idea behind this step is that consumers don’t participate in the action actively and, therefore, lose track of time and losses. On a similar note, slot spins faster than 2.5 seconds will be banned, too.
I believe these changes can affect the gameplay for those who enjoy sitting back and relaxing as the reels keep spinning. Some consumers don’t play slots for the prizes but to drift off and calm their minds. Naturally, this makes real money slots dangerous if the user doesn’t have a proper money management strategy. Still, these users will now lose access to a popular feature after the UKGC deemed it harmful.
Outcomes and Time Spent Playing Must Be Visible at All Times, Reverse Withdrawals Banned Too
My personal favorites among all the latest changes are the transparency regarding total losses alongside the ban of the reverse withdrawals.
All UK casino operators will have to display the total time spent playing to their consumers. More importantly, there will have to be a summary of the total losses or wins for any particular session. Meaning, users will always know whether and how much money they’ve won or lost. I find this an essential step towards ensuring responsible gambling across iGaming platforms.
Finally, I left the ban on reverse withdrawals for the end. Withdrawal pending times and reverse cashouts have been a nasty strategy used by operators to prevent users from actually cashing out. How? Well, while casinos sometimes take up to 72 hours to even review your withdrawal request, you can change your mind about it. In fact, quite a lot of users do that and decide to gamble with the cash instead.
In a way, this keeps the money in the platform’s grip, something that wouldn’t have happened without the option to reverse your withdrawal. I’d also like to praise the British gambling authority as they’ve also been working on shortening the overall cashout procedure. Such regulations let consumers get their money as soon as possible, which is precisely how it should be.
Final Thoughts on the Latest UKGC Regulatory Changes
While some players will undoubtedly be disappointed by the loss of ultra-fast spins and auto-play, I believe the UKGC did a smart move. The authority continuously works towards making the iGaming industry a safe and fair space for consumers. This is important for maintaining its good reputation and levels of public trust.
For most people spinning reels or playing roulette online is a hobby. Still, gambling can quickly become a problem. These newly presented mechanisms help players stay in control and informed. Moreover, they also make withdrawing faster and easier, something that deserves extra praise.
My only worry in all of this is whether the UKGC will target other popular features, a step that could ruin lots of games. So far, however, they’ve made the right decisions and provided much-needed protection to those players who need it the most.
This article delivers the thoughts and opinions of the author and it doesn’t represent the stance of GoodLuckMate.